It looks like Martha and Ethel might be forced into retirement after all.
The Clova Cinema is hoping to make the switch to a digital projection system, following the industry-wide trend. In less than a year, 35-mm film will be phased out for good.
And that means the Clova’s two trusty, if temperamental, film projectors (named to help keep them straight during various breakdowns and repairs) will have to be replaced after 65 years of service at Cloverdale’s famed single-screen movie house.
But first, the cinema is looking for ways to pay for the switch, an expensive prospect for the cinema, which has been owned by Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary grad Craig Burghardt for the past 16 years.
But instead of raising the already low ticket prices (the $8 adult admission is for a double bill) or jacking up the cost of popcorn ($2.50 if you bring your own bowl), the Clova is putting together a family-friendly, all-ages gig Nov. 16, featuring bands, solo artists plus a silent auction.
They’re calling it the Road to Digital.
“We are planning a very entertaining night for you,” Burghardt promises.
The cinema has assembled a talented lineup of local performers, including headliners and indie darlings The Oh Wells, who went from performing at their school’s Terry Fox Run to White Rock coffee shops to Vancouver’s club circuit. Now they’re CiTR Shindig winners, EMP Soundoff finalists, and are in the Peak Performance Project Top 20.
Garth and the Guys are a cover band that will play yesterday’s favourites. Garth performs solo and with other musicians. A frequent face at local restaurants and coffee houses, he’s gaining a growing following.
Madeline Merlo of Maple Ridge comes from a musical family. Her father was a professional musician and her mom is a music fanatic with an insatiable appetite for country music. Merlo won her her first vocal competition at six, and she’s pretty much lived on the stage since. At 17, she was discovered by producer/songwriter Dan Swinimer and signed her first record deal. The team has now written and recorded more than 20 songs.
Soulful singer/songwriter and guitarist Vanessa Bonita Dolezal sings in both Spanish and English, and cites such diverse influences as Led Zeppelin and Avril Lavigne. This year she released her debut solo album, “When You’re Gone,” now available on iTunes.
The major motion picture studios are increasingly moving to digital-only movie releases, meaning any theatre that doesn’t invest tens of thousands to install a digital projection system will no longer have access to new movies.
“If we don’t convert over to digital projectors soon, then unfortunately, we would have to shut our doors,” says Samantha LeDrew, a long-time member of the “Clovamily.”
The Clova is also soliciting items for a silent auction planned as part of the concert.
“We have a few items for our silent auction and a few door prizes,” LeDrew says, “but if any [supporters] are able to donate, we are always looking for more.”
The Clova Cinema at 5732 176 Street quietly celebrated its 65th birthday this past May.
It was built because the business community agreed a movie house was an important local amenity.
Cloverdale residents snapped up $1,000 bonds to pay for construction. The bonds were repaid within two years.
Proceeds of opening night, May 26, 1947 – a gala event covered by the press and involving dignitaries – were donated to Surrey Memorial Hospital Fund.
Right from the beginning, LeDrew says, up to today, the Clova has made supporting the community that supports the cinema a key operational mandate.
“We don’t just use our space for our business, we allow other groups to do fundraising, birthday parties, we’ve hosted four weddings, and we’ve had a huge gala before,” she says.
Tickets are $25. Available at the box office. For more, visit theclova.com.
Sinking Like a Stone: Madeline Merlo